U of G researchers receive award for livestock research

GUELPH – Two University of Guelph researchers have been named winners of the 2024 Early Career Research Award.

Ataharul Chowdhury was awarded $70,000 for his work in Getting Research into Practice (GRIP) and Sam Workenhe received $40,000 to further his work in discovering and developing antiviral treatments for highly pathogenic livestock and poultry viruses.

The awards were announced at the Livestock Research Innovation Corporation (LRIC) annual symposium on June 20 in Elora.

Now in its third year, the award is funded by LRIC, Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS), Western Fair Association (WFA), Ontario Agricultural College and Ontario Veterinary College to encourage cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary approaches to livestock research. 

“The Early Career Research Award is designed to acknowledge the value of livestock research being conducted by young researchers on behalf of the livestock industry. It is a combined initiative by both LRIC and industry working together to encourage research results that will not only benefit production, animal health, and nutrition, but will also be disseminated widely to anyone who will use the results,” stated Deborah Whale, first vice president of the Grand River Agricultural Society and member of the project review committee, in a news release. “The decision committee thanks all of the applicants. They represent the very best of those doing excellent research on behalf of the Canadian livestock sector, where constant improvement is the norm and indeed is necessary to maintain sustainability and competitiveness.”

Chowdhury’s research will focus on awareness, collaboration and knowledge mobilization of innovative ideas related to livestock, agri-food and climate change misinformation.

He will also focus on the emerging role of generative artificial intelligence in GRIP. 

A new platform will present livestock research information in actionable formats including videos, plain language summaries, blogs and more.

Workenhe is continuing his research using genomic tools to study how avian influenza interacts with its hosts, causing recurring outbreaks in poultry and other livestock species.

This information is critical to being able to develop effective treatments against infection, reduce economic losses and prevent potential human health impacts.

Workenhe previously received an Early Career Research Award for this work in 2022.

 The award is available to faculty from the University of Guelph who are participants in LRIC’s Early Career Mentorship Program.

LRIC launched its mentorship program in 2020 with the goal of bridging early career University of Guelph faculty to the livestock industry by deepening their understanding of its research needs, as well as building important relationships with industry.

Livestock Research Innovation Corporation was established in 2012 with support from Ontario’s beef, pork, dairy and poultry sector organizations and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. 

LRIC’s mission is driving innovation, and the organization takes a value chain approach to research and innovation by providing leadership in research priority setting, coordination and process; identifying and communicating emerging issues; and strengthening networks across the sector.

LRIC is funded in part by the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP), a five-year, federal-provincial-territorial initiative.